Board of Directors & Staff

Weam Namou

Executive Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center.

Weam is an Eric Hoffer award-winning author of 13 books, a two-time international award-winning filmmaker, journalist, poet, and an Ambassador for the Authors Guild of America [Detroit Chapter], the nation’s oldest and largest writing organization. She hosts a half-hour weekly TV show, and she’s the founder of The Path of Consciousness, a spiritual and writing community, and Unique Voices in Films, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Wayne State University, Weam traveled the world as she studied fiction and memoir through various correspondence courses, poetry in Prague through the University of New Orleans, and screenwriting at MPI (Motion Picture Institute of Michigan). Her essays, articles, and poetry have been published by national and international publications. A keynote speaker, Weam has given readings, lectures, and workshops at numerous cultural and educational institutions. In 2012, Erootha, a local arts organization, honored her with an Outstanding Contributions to the Arts Award.

 

Crystal Kashat

Administrative Assistant of the Chaldean Cultural Center.

Crystal earned her Master’s degree at the University of Detroit Mercy and her Bachelor’s, majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, at Wayne State University. She worked in major healthcare companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shields of Michigan and Meridian Health Plan. She was also an active board member for One World Medical Mission, a non-profit organization which helps displaced and needy children and adults in war torn countries such as Iraq and Syria.

Aside from having a passion in writing and helping those in need, Crystal is a worldwide traveler who immerses herself in and enjoys learning about different cultures. She goes the extra mile in teaching herself the ins and outs of the Chaldean Cultural Center outside of her administrative duties, even becoming a docent to the many visitors that are received at the museum.

Judith (Judy) Jonna

is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Chaldean Cultural Center.

 

Judy, 63, is a Certified Energy Touch Practitioner at Healing Solutions in Bloomfield Township with a decade of successful experience in wellness and alternative healing.  She also teaches green cleaning classes and facilitates meditation and spiritual counseling as part of her practice.

 

Of Chaldean decent, Judy was born to immigrant parents and raised in Detroit. She served as campaign finance director for her Congressman in Bloomfield Township, her place of residence, for four years and has experience in retail as owner and operator of two candle stores.

 

Judy is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Belle Isle Conservancy, and on the development boards of Angels Place and the Chaldean Community Foundation.

 

Avita Bacall (Board Secretary)

Art Historian with a B.A. and M.A. in Art History.

 

Avita’s Master’s essay, “Michelangelo: The Evolving Style of His Three Pietàs” was submitted to the school of Fine and Performing Arts at Wayne State University. During her undergraduate career at Oakland University in Rochester, Avita served as President of the Art and Art History department student group called “La Pittura”. During her academic career, she obtained 4 credits in British architecture from Oxford University, England. Work experience includes art gallery assistant at several local galleries, and Assistant to the Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center.

 

Of Chaldean descent, Avita, 35, was born and raised in Detroit. She lives in Commerce Township and works as a makeup artist in West Bloomfield.

Khalid (Kal) H. Najar (Board Treasurer)

Practicing attorney and Lead Prosecutor for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Kal, 60, earned a B.A. in History, with high honors, from MSU and Wayne State University.  He earned his J.D. from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

 

From Farmington Hills, Kal’s community affiliations include Board of Directors of Shenandoah Country Club, Government Bar Association Board of Directors, and Past Board Chair St. Fabian Catholic School Parent Advisory Board.

 

Nora Hanna (Board Member)

Attorney at Fieger Law in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Nora, 28, studied Speech Communication and Rhetoric at Wayne State University before earning her Juris Doctorate from WSU Law in 2015.  During law school, she won Mock Trial awards for best written brief and best oral advocacy. She also was finalist in Mock Trial Competitions and was involved in International Law.

 

Nora has worked on a multitude of cases that range from automobile negligence to police brutality. She recently was involved in a class action representing over 1,000 persons nationwide.  She is admitted to the State Bar, Federal Bar and 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She says she loves the law because “no one is above it.”  In her free time, Nora enjoys cooking and baking, as well as spending evenings at Detroit’s newest and best restaurants.

 

Nora is from Birmingham, Michigan, and her community affiliations include U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Chaldean Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, Sixth District Court of Appeals, and Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce.

Alexander (Alex) Ayar (Board Member)

Attorney at McDonald Hopkins in Detroit, Michigan.

 

Alex earned his J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School in 2006 and received a B.S. in economics with Honors from Oakland University in 2003. A 37 year-old from West Bloomfield, he is an award-winning member of the firm’s Litigation Department.  He has nearly 15 years of legal experience with a practice focused on complex litigation matters.

 

Alex is a multi-year recipient of many prestigious awards for Business Litigation, including Super Lawyers, Rising Stars and the dBusiness Top Lawyers Award. A Special Tribute from the Michigan Legislature was presented to Alex for his demonstration of “advanced legal acumen, devotion to clients, and an exemplary reputation in the legal field”. He was named Attorney on the Rise by the Chaldean-American Bar Association and was also honored with the Michigan Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Lawyers Award.

His community affiliations include the Chaldean American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection Fund Committee, the Federal Bar Association, the Chaldean Federation of America and the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce.  Alex was also honored to serve as a multi-term member of the Judicial Advisory Committee for the United States District Court for The Eastern District of Michigan.  As a member, he participates in a process of vetting and recommending individuals to fill federal district court vacancies-recommendations that ultimately reach the White House for use in making judicial appointments.

 

Nada Jamou (Board Member)

Sr. Project Design Engineer working for Nissan Technical Center in Farmington Hills, as a Design Engineer in the development of electronics components.

 

Nada, 57, has received a Presidential and Director’s Award for achieving Nissan’s objectives. She’s also a business owner of a Real Estate investment of several residential and commercial properties.  Nada attended the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and has a master’s degree in Engineering Management (MEE) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Lawrence Technological University.

 

Born in Baghdad, she emigrated from Iraq to the United States in 1977, at the age of 14.  She’s fluent in speaking, reading, and writing Arabic, and lives with her husband and four children in West Bloomfield.

 

Nada is the Board of Directors of Shenandoah Country Club [CIAAM]. She is past board member for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and continues to lead its newly developed Chaldean Women Committee. She is an active member in her hometown and serves as a Commissioner for the Greater West Bloomfield Cable Communication.

Rev. Andrew Seba (Board Member)

31-year-old Chaldean Catholic Priest of the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of the USA.

 

Rev. Andrew received his Bachelor’s in Philosophy and later his STB from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit.  He was ordained in June 2013 and is currently serving at Holy Martyrs Chaldean Catholic Church in Sterling Heights.

 

Ban Sadek Kizy (Board Member)

Works part time as a Dearborn Public Schools bilingual third-grade teacher in Dearborn.

 

Ban attended Mercy high school, and then went on Wayne State University for several degrees in Elementary Education including a Masters in Bilingual studies and Endorsement in Early Childhood education. She was hired by Dearborn Public schools 26 years ago as a bilingual third-grade teacher. Ban loves kids and currently works part time, still in the district.

 

A 48-year-old mother of twin daughters, Ban is married to an automotive engineer, Christopher Kizy. She was born in Basra, Iraq to a Chaldean father and Lebanese mother who were forced to immigrate to America to escape from religious persecution and for a better life.  Ban moved to Bloomfield Hills at the age of eight and still resides there.

Ban loves history and culture and enjoys baking, golfing, and walking her fur baby, Louie. She also loves to volunteer her time in her community. She is on several boards, namely, Chaldean Cultural Center, two Bloomfield Hills schools PTO, president of WIN (women in the neighborhood) support group, Foxcroft (neighborhood) Improvement Association, and was a Beaumont Hospital patient escort for several years. Ban is Catholic and puts her faith in God before everything.

 

Sommer Kassab Yono (Board Member)

Licensed Masters Social Worker with over 17 years of experience working as a School Social Worker for the West Bloomfield School District.

Sommer has experience working with all grade levels K-12 supporting the mental health and behavioral needs of students in the district. She has presented to various groups such as the Oakland County Schools Police Liaisons, West Bloomfield Police Department, Our Lady of Sorrows PTG and other various parent and youth organizations on how to support children with social and emotional needs.  She is a member of the Michigan Association of School Social Workers and was named 2018 West Bloomfield School District’s Ancillary Staff Member of the Year.

Andrew Keina (Board Member)

Currently the Vice President of Top That Table, Inc. an event design and rental company located in Michigan. He is a 42-year-old male, Chaldean American, and resides in West Bloomfield, MI.

 

Patrick Kattoo (Board Member)

Owner of Four Seasons Contracting, a construction company for both commercial and residential buildings. He’s also the owner of Public Waste, an environmental solutions provider in Southeast Michigan.

 

Public Waste invests in developing waste solutions for a changing world, including counseling customers to achieve green goals, including zero waste. At 49-years-old, Patrick is currently a resident of West Bloomfield and is a member of the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

 

Sister Nada Khubeir (Board Member)

Nun belonging to the Order of Chaldean Sisters, Daughters of Mary Immaculate.

 

Sr. Nada is the choir director at Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church and also serves as the communion teacher at Sacred Heart Church. She is a teacher aid at St. Fabian Catholic School.  She is a 55-year-old female and resides in West Bloomfield, MI.

 

Claudine Denha (Board Member)

High school teacher at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills. She teaches Business/computer classes and moderates the junior class, the Chaldean Curriculum Project, and Beamer, a business entrepreneurship group.

 

Claudine prides herself on being the first Chaldean teacher at Marian. She received a Business Marketing degree and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University.  Her passion is educating.  She also enjoys being an active member of the community as well as her church.

 

Claudine currently serves on the board of the Chaldean Women’s Committee, is a member of the St. Thomas Pastoral Council, has assisted on Strides for Seminarians, and taught first Holy Communion.  She is always willing to serve the community to the best of her ability.

 

When Claudine is not teaching or volunteering, she loves to travel and blog.   Her favorite places include Iraq, Paris, Croatia and Italy.  She also enjoys trying new places and considers herself a foodie which she blogs about on her food blog @foodiequeendetroit.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and friends and is grateful for being a member of the Chaldean Cultural Center Board.

Mary Romaya (Emerita)

Retired teacher and former Executive Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center.

 

Born in Detroit to Chaldean parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Telkeppe, Iraq, Mary attended parochial schools including Gesu School and Immaculata High School, both in northwest Detroit. She graduated from the University of Detroit with a B.A. degree with a major in History and received an M.A. Degree in School Administration from Eastern Michigan University.

 

Mary worked for 45 years as a professional educator with Warren Woods Public Schools leaving the district in January 2011. During those years she was a Social Studies teacher, Student Advocate, and a Guidance Counselor – all at the high school level.  Mary went through additional graduate programs in Special Education and in Guidance & Counseling.  She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

 

Mary served on the Board of Directors of the Chaldean Cultural Center since its inception from 2003 until becoming its Executive Director in 2011and retiring in October 1, 2019.  She currently acts a consultant to the Chaldean Cultural Center.